Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Friday 10 August 2018

The Game Shelf's Top Ten Kickstarter Board Games

We backed our first board game Kickstarter project back in January 2017. Since then we've been trying to stick to backing a maximum of one game each month, no matter how enticing some of the games are. This has led to some difficult decisions, some of which we discussed in a blog after our first 6 months as Kickstarter backers.

Currently the number one game on BoardGameGeek was a Kickstarter project, something which would've been unthinkable just a couple of years ago. The success of Gloomhaven and other very highly rated games like Scythe and The 7th Continent, really shows how Kickstarter can launch a small designer or publisher to success through crowdfunding. Sure, some big, successful publishers are now using Kickstarter as a pre-order system, but some of the most successful Kickstarter games are still from small independent sources.

Since we came to Kickstarter late, we were surprised when researching for this list, at how many of the games on our shelves that we bought in retail editions, originally launched on Kickstarter. Here's a list of our top ten favourites.

     10. Fog of Love just scrapes onto the list because it is so unique. Amy plays roleplaying games, but I do not and yet the real world setting of Fog of Love made me let go of my inhibitions and really get into character. We had great fun roleplaying a dysfunctional couple and exploring the different scenarios in the box. I wish we'd backed this on Kickstarter because we'd have more scenarios to play, but hopefully the expansions will be released soon!

     9. Paperback is a great word building deck-building game from Tim Fowers. We've always loved deck-building games and Paperback brings some great mechanics into it, including special abilities, combos and the balance of building up your deck with cool cards and balancing the moment to start buying victory points. Not only is a great deck-builder but it also makes it relatively easy to make words with wild cards, meaning that it's less agonising than many word games.

     8. Scythe is a game that we enjoy most as a two player game where it becomes primarily an engine building with a very innovative action selection mechanism. Although the area control and conflict are not for us, there is enough board space for two players to build up quite independently and Scythe is a game we really enjoy and need to play some more. We're particularly excited for the upcoming Rise of Fenris expansion which should get the game onto our table consistently.

     7.Beasts of Balance is an app integrated dexterity game that we were addicted to for a while and still enjoy as a game that will always put a smile on our faces. It's just a balancing game, but the app integration and scoring mechanisms, as well as the cross-breeding and 'got to catch 'em all' mentality, really makes this game one we love. We're very excited for the Battles expansion that we backed on Kickstarter and that should be on our doorstep in the next few weeks!

     6. Kokoro:Avenue of the Kodama is one of only two games on this list that we actually backed on Kickstarter. We backed it based on our enjoyment of Kodama, it's thematic predecessor, but it's now become part of our rather large selection of roll and write (or draw and draw) games. Kokoro is a game we teach to lots of new gamers and find that it's a game that our friends want to play again and again to improve their score. I expect Kokoro will be one of the most played games in our collection over the next couple of years.

     5. Viticulture is a slightly older Kickstarter game that we only discovered recently. Viticulture is a game a wine making and worker placements, where your workers are assigned to actions in different seasons. We really enjoy the optimisation and puzzliness in this game and think that with a few more plays it might become a staple of our collection.

     4. Clans of Caledonia is the first game on the list that made it into my recent top ten games of all time. Once again, we didn't back the Kickstarter, but when we played it for the first time we had instant non-backers remorse (there were no retail copies available at the time).  It's just the perfect weight of economic game for me, with plenty of strategy, but also the ability to plan out bitesize pieces that makes it manageable and a really meaty experience in only 60 minutes with two players.

     3. Flash Point: Fire Rescue is not one of my top ten games, but it's definitely one of Amy's favourites. It's a fantastic cooperative game with a great, underused theme. We have lots of expansion content and backed the Tragic Events expansion on Kickstarter, which really brought life back into the game for us.

     2. Gloomhaven was number 9 in my top ten games of all time, but for Amy it would be ranked much more highly, and maybe even a top 3 game. We backed the second Kickstarter for this game after hearing such good feedback about it. Dungeon crawls are a genre I avoid but I'm so glad I gave Gloomhaven a chance and Amy is relieved that we can play this epic campaign together.

     1. Kitchen Rush made it to number 6 in my top ten games of all time and is one of Amy's favourites too. We love this real time cooperative game with a theme that is a reminder of the Overcooked video game. The game is really challenging so always provides us with a harder goal to aim for, as well as being really fast. I can't wait to see the desserts expansions - A Piece of Cake - which we backed on Kickstarter in the last few months.

It actually turned out that we own or have played and enjoyed over 40 games from Kickstarter. It was quite difficult to make this top ten. Feudum, Conan, The 7th Continent, Roll Player and Anachrony are all games that we haven't played enough to make the list yet, but could probably make the list in the future. Plus we have another 15 or more games that we're still waiting for, so our best Kickstarter games are only going to get better and better!

Do you back board games on Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments which project you've backed that has become one of your favourite games.

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